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SAT requirement and admission policy for class of 2021

Posted on August 4, 2020
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Several colleges have decided to let go of the need for SAT/ACT exams for students enrolled in the class of 2021. COVID-19 has led to the cancellation of 3 of the 7 annual SAT exam dates. Now that colleges are saying that students don’t have to submit scores, the question that arises is whether those in the class of 2021 must take the SAT/ACT tests.

As of now, only 1 out of 4 colleges have waived the SAT/ACT exams for these students. The other colleges are still insisting on the students write the exams. The school you are submitting an application to could be one that needs you to get the test scores.

The scenario in general for the SAT/ACT exams this year can be compared to writing optional essays in the test. Most of the colleges don’t need them. Nevertheless, if you are applying to even one such college, you will need to write the essays.

If at least one school that you are applying to still needs that you take the ACT or SAT exam, then you will need a solid score. In fact, most schools are insisting on it!

Now, are you thinking if all this waiver makes sense? Well, there are many arguments that favor the needlessness of the SAT/ACT exam even in normal years. One thing is that these exams are not great at predicting one’s success in college. Moreover, the test results only show the student’s preparedness for the SAT/ACT exam, rather than bringing out his/her general academic preparedness. It doesn’t really tell if the student is ready for college.

And even if you may find these tests useful for admissions in college, in the present grim situation due to the COVID-19 crisis, it would be insensitive to force students to take them.

The possibility of all colleges to apply the waiver of SAT/ACT tests is highly unlikely as the tests serve distinct purposes. For instance, large state schools use the scores of these tests to filter and cut short the crowd of applicants. Moreover, post the pandemic crisis, there is a surge in applicants expected over the next couple of years. This will be triggered by the economic fallout caused by COVID-19.

In such a situation, the schools will choose to use such standardized exam scores to manage the admissions. Also, such tests are connected to college rankings which motivates smaller, private colleges to keep going with the test requirements.

Now, all these observations bring you to the conclusion that you better be ready for the SAT/ACT exam. There are many test days coming up which won’t be cancelled for all that can be reasoned. ACTs are being offered in July, September, and October. SATs are there in August, September, and October. So, there is ample chance to prepare for the exam with SAT coaching and give priority to good health and safety from infections.

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